April 8th, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Code Words, Ethics Toolbox
Ethics: Answering questions about COVID-19 coverage
At the Society of Professional Journalists, we talk a lot about how your ethical standards should not change no matter the medium or type of story you are producing. While covering COVID-19, the same is true: Ethics apply no matter the medium.
April 3rd, 2020 • Featured, Departments, Quill Archives
CDC sued over release of policies restricting free speech
CORRECTION: The headline for this story originally stated that the White House was being sued. The original FOIA request was for the CDC and the White House, but the subsequent lawsuit only names the CDC and the U.S. Department of Health and Human services.
Can you show a decrease in your journalism income because of the current pandemic? Freelance journalists nationwide including sole proprietors, independent contractors and the self-employed (for example, S Corporation owners) might now be entitled unemployment benefits in their state. Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, the provisions of the unemployment program have been expanded to help provide temporary monetary relief for freelance journalists and other workers who illustrate a decrease in income resulting from the effects of the current pandemic virus on business operations.
March 26th, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog
In challenging circumstances, students write first draft of history
He was about to begin dress rehearsals for the school play. Sam Shelenberger, a senior at Saegertown High School in Saegertown, Pennsylvania, had scheduled a week off of work at a local gas station to prepare for his role in “Matilda,” a play about a precocious five-year-old girl.
March 23rd, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog
Hicks: Trump among challenges of accurately covering COVID-19
Journalists are encountering numerous challenges as they report on the coronavirus outbreak. One is the president of the United States. President Donald Trump spent the early days of the virus’ arrival on the homeland denying it would have much impact here.
March 18th, 2020 • Featured, Quill Blog, Toolbox, Quill Archives
Hicks: Groups urge care, precision in coronavirus reporting
Journalists covering the coronavirus have produced compelling, informative stories, but along the way, there have been mischaracterizations, inaccuracies and absent nuances. An ABC News story posted to its website incorrectly implied the terms coronavirus and COVID-19 can be used interchangeably, a common mistake.
As the infectious coronavirus travels the globe, claiming more than 3,000 lives so far, public health professionals have urged people to learn the facts. Meanwhile, a White House official had a different message for Americans: Stay uninformed. Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Feb.
February 10th, 2020 • Featured
In Journalism We Distrust: Notes from the Casper Project
The Avis rental car office serving the Casper/Natrona County International Airport sits off-site, but there’s a shuttle at the ready. The drive is an easy two and a half miles — enough time for the friendly, courteous driver to ask a question, whose answer she seems genuinely interested in hearing.
Misinterpreted data and unsubstantiated conclusions plague press and social media. What can journalists do to stop them? Quill asked Rob Pyatt, who has presented workshops focused on teaching critical thinking skills, to chime in on the subject. Pyatt, an assistant professor in the New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics at Kean University, is certified in Clinical Molecular Genetics and serves as a director of the Oxy-Gen Laboratory in Norcross, Georgia.
Bringing with him a résumé that included work as a hip-hop musician, a slam poet, a playwright, a performer and even a comic book author, Al Letson joined The Center for Investigative Reporting to help launch and host public radio’s first hourlong investigative journalism show, “Reveal.”
January 14th, 2020 • Featured
Journalism on autopilot: The upside and downside of computer-generated stories
Curt Conrad still remembers heading to bed at 4 a.m. on football Friday nights. With multiple games to cover, quotes to cull and stats to sort, football Friday inevitably led to sleepy Saturday. Not now. Conrad, a sports reporter with the all-digital Richland Source in Mansfield, Ohio, relies on automated journalism to cover brass tacks such as the final score, scoring plays by quarter, team records, basic stats and future schedules to generate game stories independently.
What’s the fallout from the radical downturn in the influence of newspapers? To be sure, a less informed populace. More stories generated from press releases. Fewer in-depth articles. Less enterprise coverage of local and regional news. I think there’s something else.
December 20th, 2019 • Featured, From the President
From the President: Women have long been a force at SPJ
Since the days of Nellie Bly – and likely before – women have been a force in journalism. They lead newsrooms. They win Pulitzer Prizes. They fill pages and screens with high-quality, can’t-miss coverage. And in my world – journalism higher ed – they fill far more classroom seats than their male counterparts.
December 19th, 2019 • Featured, Journalist on Call
Hicks: Media essential in impeachment understanding
Much of the evidence introduced during the House impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump was accessible to Americans through the news media and online sites. This allowed unprecedented access to hours of testimony, the opportunity to review documents and, ostensibly, to judge the case against Trump for themselves.
December 17th, 2019 • Featured
Review: Final Newseum show looks at seriously funny “Daily Show”
In its final months on Pennsylvania Avenue before closing (see timeline, below), Washington, D.C.’s Newseum presents an exhibit that explores an institution whose future seems as unknowable as its own. “Seriously Funny: From the Desk of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” celebrates the program that continues to evolve from its parody roots as self-proclaimed fake news into the current era of You Can’t Make This Sh*t Up.
December 13th, 2019 • Featured, Toolbox
Toolbox: What’s to like (and not like) about “likes” leaving Instagram?
Instagram has begun hiding likes. Well, from the public. You, as a user, will still be able to see your own likes once this reaches all accounts, but your followers (and their followers and their friends), won’t be able to see your likes.